10 lessons Dad has taught me (so far)

There is something very special about a girl and her Dad. My Mom is my role model and best friend but Dad? He’s my hero and always has been my constant. My rock. It’s fun to think back on how our relationship has grown and evolved, from Dad battling his fear of flying to take me on my first mission trip to Panama in high school to him saying the prayer before Annie safely arrived in the delivery room.

One of my first and funniest memories of us was when Mom sent us both out for the evening while she hosted a shower of some sort at the house. I was five years old and Beauty and the Beast was playing in theaters so OF COURSE, Dad decided we would go, much to my excitement. He let me get all the candy I wanted (!!!) and allowed me to choose where we would sit (FRONT ROW!). All was right with the world until the movie was over and suddenly all the candy and up-close-and-personal-to-the-animation made me feel not so good. I had to go to the bathroom fast. Dad slightly panicked but he had no choice other than to take me to the men’s restroom and stand outside the door. I distinctly remember screaming from the bathroom to Dad, just outside, “I want my Mommy!” and he replied “I do too!” Lesson learned at an early age – less is more with candy and never, ever sit on the front row at the movie theater.

But for real, through his words and example Dad has taught me countless life lessons in my 30 years and I feel like every time we’re together I learn something new. Here are ten lessons Dad has taught me, so far:

  1. If you put God first, He’ll take care of the rest
  2. You are the company you keep
  3. You can’t go wrong with The Eagles or The Beatles
  4. With hard work and determination anything is possible
  5. The truth will find you out
  6. Mom knows what she’s talking about
  7. The two most important decisions you make in your life: to become a Christian and who you will marry
  8. Always be kind and love people
  9. Beware of: a waitress who seats you in the corner and a house built in a hole
  10. You can always come back home

What life lessons has your Dad taught you? I want to hear! If you’re fortunate enough to still have your dad with you on this earth give him a call. Thank him and tell him how much you love him because a good father is such a gift.

Happily Married: Back to the Beginning

It was about this time three years ago when I was strung out on my parents’ couch, un-showered and on some powerful pain killers, that I met my now husband.

Yep.

I’ll explain.

I went home to have all four of my wisdom teeth removed early on a Friday morning. My train of thought was to get the awful surgery part over and done and then sleep it off on the couch. My sweet parents escorted me there and back, making sure I actually made it to the car (pain pills get me, y’all) and then safely into my favorite corner of their couch. Truthfully I don’t remember a whole lot other than waking up in the car on the drive home and trying desperately to tell my mom a story about my dentist (???) but physically couldn’t even come close thanks to all the gauze and who knows what else in my mouth.

So glamourous.

Saturday morning I woke up on the couch, still in my yoga pants and oversized sweatshirt I had wore into surgery the morning prior. I must have been with it enough to take my hair down and bra-off but not coherent enough to bother doing anything else like shower or sit up.

I told you, glamourous.

I was alone in the den with HGTV playing in the background and then a guy I didn’t know walked in. Correction: a cute guy I didn’t know.

GREAT.

While a lot of the details of this day are foggy this particular one is not. Seeing this cute guy walking towards me I was suddenly very aware of how special I had to have looked so in what felt like slow motion, I attempted to pull my hair back in some sort of ponytail and “fix” my bangs. I’m going to guess that didn’t improve my looks. Next thing I knew he had a bowl of cereal and was sitting on the other end of the couch.

“Hi,” he said.

Indistinct mumbling from me.

Taylor was his name and he was a friend of my brother. I had heard of him before – my family knew him for years but we’d never met – so I connected the dots and tried to smile. He wasn’t anything like I thought he would be – he was better – and I couldn’t believe this was how we were meeting. Nathan was taking him to the airport later but wasn’t up yet so he decided to come talk to me.

“Do you like House Hunters? I love it,” I managed to mumble out, apparently. Because that’s what you talk about when you’re on pain killers and meet a cute guy in your living room.

Awesome.

He finished his cereal while I attempted to look alive – I nodded off twice – and then he said he would see me later. I just knew he would never ever EVER want to see me again after our winning first encounter and didn’t give him more thought.

A couple weeks later we ran into each other and in front of several people I did not know I awkwardly announced: “Look! This time I’m wearing clothes and not strung out on drugs!”

I can’t make this stuff up.

As if all that wasn’t enough to make him run for the hills, my dad decided to jump in the mix. Dad, who up until that point had never meddled in my love life saw something there and for whatever reason, called Taylor. He told Taylor it was about me and his initial thought? Something was wrong. I was sick/dying/moving overseas. NOPE. Dad told him he should call and ask me out and – WAIT FOR IT – if things worked out he “couldn’t pick a more perfect son-in-law or match for his daughter.”

If your jaw is on the floor you had a similar reaction to the one I had when Taylor told me on our third date.

Taylor did call and we talked non-stop for the next two days, including a 6-hour delay from BNA>LGA for a work trip so I knew I had to see him. We went on our first date the day I got home from NYC. He prayed at dinner and we talked like old friends well past midnight as we strolled in one of my favorite parks. We both agreed it was the best first date we’d ever been on and I knew it was only the beginning of our story.

He later told me he liked me from our first meeting on my parent’s couch, jumbo-sized gauze cheeks and all. Love is spectacular like that. xo

two thousand seventeen

Hello and Happy New Year! How did you ring it in? We stayed in with our almost four month old and watched one of our favorites, When Harry Met Sally. Annie was asleep by 9 and we were in bed by 11:30 – we whispered about our favorite moments of the past year and all the things we would love to accomplish in the future. We knew it was 2017 from the fireworks heard outside our window. It was a far cry from past NYEs spent out and about in a sparkly dress but it was oh so sweet.

2016 was full. We bought our first house and made it a home. We dug deep into our jobs. We made new friends and held close to our oldest and dearest. We valued time with our families. We, yes we, survived and actually enjoyed a pregnancy. We traveled. We HAD A BABY – by far the most incredible experience to date. We prayed and studied and worked hard on growing closer to God. We worked daily on our marriage. We settled into our new roles as parents.

As incredible as this past year was, I know this year will be our best yet. We have a clean slate. A fresh start. Another opportunity to love and grow and be present for our lives. One of my goals for this year is to make room. To say no to more things I’m not crazy about to make space for more stuff (think people, places, activities) that I AM crazy about. More quiet moments with God. More morning snuggles with my baby girl. More dates and dancing in the kitchen with my husband. More laughter with my family. More risks. More lunches and conversation with my girlfriends. More celebrating big and small occasions. More heart. More dreaming. More joy. More gratitude. More good.

Hello, 2017. I like you already. xo

Study Proves Netflix Binges Are Good For Your Relationship

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Yep, you heard that right. A recent study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships suggests it might actually be beneficial to share a TV show with your significant other. If you’re like us, some nights all we want to do is veg out to one of our favorite shows or a movie on Netflix. Especially in this hot-as-Hades heat who wants to be sweating outside when you could be in the comfort of your air conditioned living room with a comfy couch?

The study specifically looked at how shared media interests—think TV shows, movies, books—helped to strengthen relationships even when the couple didn’t share many mutual friends. Researchers discovered shared social circles helped to predict strong relationships – obviously – but a “shared media experience” had the same effect and in many cases, a strong impact.

Now let’s be clear here – binge watching TV has its disadvantages because sure, like anything you don’t want to abuse it, i.e. that’s the only time you spend with your main squeeze. Sitting in front of the TV aimlessly night after night does not a healthy relationship make. BUT what I do love is that this study proves what we already knew about the beauty in sharing something with your guy or girl. Whether it’s binge watching a TV show on Netflix, having a move marathon, reading each other’s favorite books or watching every single second of the Olympics (!!!) – do so without abandon because it’s oh so good for your relationship. xo

Dear Annie – God is Bigger than the Bad Guys

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Dear Annie,

It’s hard to believe you’ll be here soon. Your daddy and I are so excited to meet you! Pretty soon you’ll make your grand entrance (most likely kicking and screaming, if you’re anything like me) and this world will be a little brighter. To be completely honest we don’t have a clue what we’re doing or what to expect but we hear that’s normal. As I sit here dreaming of what you’ll look like and what your laugh will sound like I can’t help but wish this world you’re about to enter into was a little calmer. More peaceful. More loving.

You see lately this world has become pretty scary. There are a lot of people who would rather fight than love, who prefer to knock others down instead of build them up. There are so many good people in this world but sadly there are also people who do some bad things for reasons we don’t understand.

What I want you to know is this: No matter how bad the bad guys are, God is always good. God is great and big enough to take care of all of us. The bad guys will never win because God has already won. He has overcome the world with his love and light.

So my sweet girl, don’t be afraid. God is much, much bigger than their hate and He will always be with us. The meanness in this world can be confusing and scary but our God’s goodness always comes out on top.

Annie, you will be such a gift to this world, I just know it, spreading kindness and joy to everyone you meet. Through being God’s light in this dark world you may just be the breath of fresh air some bad guys need to become good guys.

xoxo, Mommy

Newlywed Life: A Running List

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I like to start my day alone, well Buddy is usually in my lap, with a glass of lemon water, my Bible, and whatever devotional I’m reading because sometimes I just need a minute to get my day going right. Currently I’m working my way through Waiting in Wonder, a pregnancy devotional/journal hybrid that tackles a new topic every day with scripture and encouraging words. This morning’s devo was all about the importance of building a strong marriage, especially before and when children come into to the picture since everything changes (or so I hear). The author tied in my favorite passage of all time, I Corinthians 13 aka “the love chapter” and pointed out how “love keeps no record of wrongs.”

My husband has taught me so much about what it means to love someone with your whole heart and as he says, despite. Despite all my flaws and mess-ups and less than glamorous moments he loves me unconditionally. He has taught me how to forgive annoyances and move forward with the kind of optimism only found in love.

If you love somebody, you don’t keep score of times they hurt your feelings or when they didn’t pick up their dirty clothes from the bathroom floor. You don’t remind them of the times they royally messed up and put their foot in their mouth or were short with you while hungry and tired. You don’t keep a record of wrongs to bring out whenever you feel like it because that’s not what love’s about.

Love is about keeping track of the good stuff – all the times they get it right and remind you of the million reasons you love them. So I keep a running list of all the times he makes me laugh until I’m crying. The way he holds my hand in his when we pray together. The look he gives me when I’m being ridiculous or overreacting. The hilarious sounds he makes when he eats something he really likes. The way he takes care of me and leads our family.

TIME magazine recently featured an article simply titled “How to Stay Married” in which they shared insight from 500+ couples who had been married 40+ years. Each couple polled agreed on two things: 1.) Marriage is hard 2.) It’s more than worth it. One couple went on to say the best thing they learned early in marriage was to communicate and not hold grudges. Such fantastic advice not only for marriage but for all relationships, right?

Love keeps no record of wrongs and I choose love. xo

Monthly Pregnancy Update: 24 Weeks

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This past month has flown by! We started registering for baby gifts and quickly realized we have no idea what we’re doing but we’re having fun! Yesterday I had my glucose test and then we heard sweet baby’s heartbeat (amazing) after our doctor (who I love) measured my tummy. It’s incredible how much she’s grown in the past month and now there’s definitely no more wondering if I’m pregnant or not with this bump! xo

Baby’s size: A cantalope

I’m feeling: Energized and just in awe that God chose us to care for this sweet soul. I’ve been pretty emotional lately but that’s to be expected I suppose. Oh and I purchased a Boppy (that Taylor claimed he needed an engineering degree to put together) and am sleeping like a champ again!

Foods I could eat forever: Steak, strawberries and anything chocolate.

Foods I cannot imagine eating: Anything spicy.

Currently wearing: Sundresses – steering clear of pants if I can help it.

Pros of May: Feeling more kicks and punches from Baby Annie that Taylor can feel too.

Cons of May: The occasional leg cramp and hot flash.

Looking forward to: A relaxing vacation with my family next week and getting more work done on the new house.

Favorite scripture at the moment: “Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.” [ Psalm 119:37 ]